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Top 4 Network Outages They Never Saw Coming

November 22nd, 2017 By Gabrielle DiSalvo

Most organizations believe factors such as customer service, delivery, and quality of products or services will put their business ahead of the competition, but the most crucial element in success is usually underestimated.  Living in a day and age where all information is electronically stored, the most significant factor in company security and prosperity is the reliability of their network. Structuring a network to protect against loss or damages has become a large part of all businesses’ due diligence and fiduciary responsibility. With the cost of a network outage averaging $8,851 per minute, both the profit and the reputation of the company are at stake. Businesses that were not prepared for the unexpected, unfortunately, have had to learn the hard way. Here are a few examples of eye-opening network outages that no one saw coming:

Caught Red Handed

In February of 2015, a communications company was hit with an outage that left thousands of customers without internet and phone. The cause? Copper thieves. This wasn’t the first time the company suffered from theft; the company’s engineer claimed to a local news station1 that similar situations had occurred 30 to 40 times that year. Each outage left customers without the ability to call for help if there was an emergency because all lines of communications were dead when the network went down. No backup plans were in place to sustain the network if the original lines were compromised.

Where’s the fire?

What if a fire in a residential area could impact a company’s network? A fire in a residential area of Chicago2 left 4,000 internet customers without services. The fire hit a critical node that connected services to those affected. What started as just a garage fire, ended in a network outage.

Cut it out

An initial outage at a Dallas data center was believed to be temporary during morning construction. The center later found out that the downtime would be longer than expected because a member of the construction crew cut through the only path connecting into the facility. The entire building was left without internet for the 12 hours it was down.  As fate would have it, the facility was struck by the outage a few weeks before their backup system was scheduled to be up and running. This left them with no alternative in place to support the network.

Ripple effect

When one network is compromised, it can lead to the demise of another network that shares a common point, referred to as a single-point of failure. When a large network was damaged, it caused a domino effect for any network sharing their line. A connected line 5 suffered a downtime of five hours when its host network went out, causing many of their customers to be without service. Businesses that lost connection were not able to process card transactions during this time and experienced a profit loss.

Mitigating network failure should be a priority for every company. Hours offline, loss of profit and disgruntled customers are just a few of the damaging effects that businesses experience. With the inability to predict the future, the only solution is to be prepared for anything. Through the pairing of a traditional network with a diverse supporting route, companies can protect themselves from the harmful repercussions of a network-wide outage.